The most Popular Posts of the past seven days.

Dec 6, 2019

Alabama army investigators will investigate fatal Black Hawk helicopter crash in Minnesota

    A team from Fort Rucker will be in Minnesota this
afternoon to investigate the crash of a Blackhawk helicopter that killed
three Army National Guard personnel yesterday afternoon.

    Fort Rucker is home to Army Aviation, and they routinely investigate crashes involving Army aircraft.

    No names have been released, pending notification of the next of kin.

Dec 5, 2019

Rosa Parks Exhibit at Library of Congress

     CBS NEWS aired a report tonight about a new Library of Congress Rosa Parks Exhibit, and you can watch it HERE.

     There are also many of Rosa's papers available online through the Library of Congress too. HERE

Alabama Counties Decry Cost of State Inmates in County Jails

     The lobbying organization for counties (ACC) says the number of state inmates in county jails is increasing at the same time the number of inmates in state prisons is decreasing...and they complain that is impacting their budgets. 

A new "inmate crisis" report says that extra expense has increased at twice the rate of inflation.

     But Alabama counties have also been criticized for releasing sick inmates early in order to avoid paying for their medical costs.

"Several Alabama sheriffs, including Washington County Sheriff Richard Stringer, said in interviews that they often find ways to release inmates with sudden health problems to avoid responsibility for their medical costs." (From a PRO-publica investigation.)

     As I've written before, no Alabama candidate ever won an election by promising to release prisoners from behind bars, or to spend more money taking care of them.

Mike Hubbard's 6-month Appeal Date

     Wednesday marked six months since Mike Hubbard ethics conviction appeal was heard by Alabama Supreme Court...

     As we noted a month ago, and still true today:


     Not a peep from the 100% Republican Court.
     Hubbard is supposed to be in jail, serving four years in prison, eight years on probation and is supposed to pay a $210,000 fine.

Hyundai: BIG Spending ahead. Will it impact the Montgomery plant?

From Autoblog:

SEOUL — Hyundai Motor plans to invest about $51.81 billion (between now and) 2025...a third of the expenditure focused on electric and autonomous vehicles, but analysts want to see it deliver.

"Hyundai is also looking at developing flying cars, which could be commercialized ahead of the most advanced self-driving cars, its executive vice chairman, Euisun Chung, has said.
Ensuring survival is a key task as the auto industry's shift towards zero-emission and self-driving technology requires massive investment at a time of profit pressured by slowing growth, Hyundai said in a presentation to investors."

How all of that would or could impact the only Hyundai plant in the anyone's guess. But any company with a major Montgomery presence spending $51-Billion Dollars is significant.

I wonder if the fact that the first Wright Brothers' flight school was in Montgomery would make locating some-- or all--- of the flying car development here a no-brainer?

Dec 4, 2019

America's Top Cop Threatens "Communiies"

“Today, the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said in pointed remarks delivered at a Justice Department ceremony to honor police officers. Barr added that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

"Thus does the Attorney General of the United States declare that local law enforcement functions like a protection racket, and let’s not pretend we don’t know what “communities” he’s talking about." 

(From a column in Esquire)

New Report from PEW: Keep religion OUT of politics?

"U.S. adults are resoundingly clear in their belief that religious institutions should stay out of politics. Nearly two-thirds of Americans in the new survey say churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, while 36% say they should express their views on day-to-day social and political questions. And three-quarters of the public expresses the view that churches should not come out in favor of one candidate over another during elections, in contrast with efforts by President Trump to roll back existing legal limits on houses of worship endorsing candidates."

FULL PEW report is HERE.

Dec 3, 2019

Red/Blue expectancy too.

From N.Y. Times columnist Paul Krugman:

Have  a Seat!
"I looked at states that voted for Donald Trump versus states that voted for Clinton in 2016, and calculated average life expectancy weighted by their 2016 population. In 1990, today’s red and blue states had almost the same life expectancy. Since then, however, life expectancy in Clinton states has risen more or less in line with other advanced countries, compared with almost no gain in Trump country. At this point, blue-state residents can expect to live more than four years longer than their red-state counterparts."

Full column.

Dec 2, 2019

Poetry: Rosa


Tim Lennox

Stubborn Fall leaves
swirl across the scene,
finally blown off their branches
in bright sunshine as
is revealed,
beating Martin to the finish line
(And how they would laugh over that!)

The seamstress with a hard
inner political justice core.
Her statue stands at the curb,
waiting for the bus that would carry her
into herstory.
Statuary Recognition.
At last.

Substitute Teachers

     I didn't know the Kelly employment company handled temp jobs at so many school systems, including substitute teachers.

     The company is in the news this week because of an incident in Utah, where one of the substitute teachers they sent to a public school lectured a 5th grade boy after he said he was thankful his two dads were going to adopt him.

"The boy’s classmates said the teacher told him, “that’s nothing to be thankful for” and lectured the 30 kids in the class about her views on homosexuality. She said that “two men living together is a sin” and “homosexuality is wrong.”
Three girls asked the teacher to stop and eventually walked out of the room to get the principal, and the substitute was escorted from the building, the Salt Lake Tribune reported."

     I don't want to paint too broad a brush, but Kelly apparently has contracts with dozens of school systems here in Alabama, including Lowndes county, Troy City, Pike County, Pike Road, Ranburne, Enterprise, and Perry County (according to Kelly's Linkedin webpage.)
     I'm confident parents at some of those schools will applaud the now dismissed substitute, but others may want to ask their school administrators or school board members about policies that would keep subs like the one in Utah out of their classrooms.

NEW COP CAMS on the way?

     Montgomery police had to give up their speed cameras after a legal challenge. Red light cameras are still used at a dozen or more intersections in the city (and yes, I got a ticket recently).

     Now CNN reports a camera that uses AI to detect drivers violating no-cellphone use by driver laws in Australia has been developed. 

Over the next three years, 45 portable cameras will be set up across the (Australian) state, in unknown locations, and without warning signs, CNN affiliate Sky News Australia reported. 

     How long before they are installed in Montgomery, where it is illegal for a driver to hand hold a cell phone to take or make a call?

     Of course there is a new sheriff, er, Mayor, in town now. Will Mayor Reed support the existing red light cameras and/of the cell phone cameras? 

Dec 1, 2019

Rosa Parks Statue Unveiling

     There are two statues long overdue in Montgomery. One of Rev.Martin Luther King, Jr., and one Rosa Parks.

      The statue of Dr. King will be in place outside the church where he was pastor on the capitol end of Dexter Avenue sometime, we hope, in the coming year. 

     But city, state, and county officials unveiled one of Ms. Parks today on the spot where she stepped onto a city bus and into history books.

The Rosa Parks Statue in Montgomery 2019

     The statue stands across from the fountain at the foot of Dexter Avenue. The place where she got on the bus in 1955.
    It is in a perfect place to take selfies with the statue next to you and the capitol in the background.
     It was unveiled o the anniversary of her arrest for refusing to give up her seat for a white and, which the law required back then.


  Everybody was there including The Governor, Newly-elected Mayor Steven Reed, Montgomery County Commission Chair Elton Dean and others.

      The King Statue has been a start and stop project for years. I spoke with King Memorial Baptist Church Pastor Cromwell Handy at today's ceremony and he says the project is still on...with a completion date in the new year.The bust completed by Tuskegee University's Ronald Scott McDowell will be on display inside the church, but the full body sculpture has been started over with a different artist. 

Nov 30, 2019

Montgomery-based SPLC Takes Chick Fill-a Funds

From a Guardian story
Leading US conservatives have turned on the fast-food restaurant chain Chick-fil-A after the company decided to cut its ties to two Christian groups that have long opposed same-sex marriage.
To compound rightwingers’ fury, it has also emerged via tax filings that Chick-fil-A donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights advocacy organization, in 2017. The SPLC has a lengthy record of supporting LGBTQ+ and abortion rights.

I do wonder whether there will be any criticism for the SPLC for taking the money without an an announcement/explanation, at least none that I know of.

Art Plus

     Longtime friend and former co-worker Sandra Polizos has created a painting based on a photo I took several years ago. Here are the photo and the painting:

65th anniversary Alabama woman hit by meteorite!

It was 65 years ago today that a woman in Sylacauga was hit by a meteorite...a rare but not unique incident.

The Associated Press lead sentence in their 1954 story:

SYLACAUGA, Ala., Nov. 30 (AP) -- A meteorite crashed through the roof of a house today and slightly injured Mrs. Hewlett Hodges.

The article in the Alabama encyclopedia includes this:

Sylacauga Chief of Police W. D. Ashcraft and Sylacauga mayor Ed Howard responded to the call from the Hodges's residence. They had Ann Hodges examined by physician Moody Jacobs, who determined that although her hip and hand were swollen and painful, there was no serious damage. (He later checked her into the hospital for several days to spare her from all the excitement.) Ashcraft and Howard showed the rock to geologist George Swindel, who was conducting fieldwork in the area. He tentatively identified the object as a meteorite. That evening they turned the meteorite over to officers from Maxwell Field, Montgomery, who took it to Air Force intelligence authorities for analysis. Air Force specialists identified it as a meteorite and sent it to curators at the Smithsonian Institution, who, delighted with their windfall, declined to send it back to Alabama. Not until Alabama congressman Kenneth Roberts intervened was the meteorite finally returned to the state, where it soon became the focus of a highly public legal battle.

The rock ended up at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa, where it remains today.

Yankee Slavery Capital: New York City

     An excellent article in the New York Times tells the story of the black community of Seneca, destroyed to make way for part of Central Park.
"New York City in the late 18th century was an epicenter of the slave trade, holding more Africans in chains than any other city in the country, with the possible exception of Charleston, S.C."

     Least the article give some kind of sordid comfort to white residents of the Deep South, let us remember, as the State of Alabama and the City of Montgomery mark their 200th Anniversaries:

As of (Alabama) statehood in 1819, slaves accounted for more than 30 percent of Alabama's approximately 128,000 inhabitants. The slave population more than doubled during the 1820s and again during the 1830s. When Alabama seceded from the Union in 1861, the state's 435,080 slaves made up 45 percent of the total population. The largest numbers of slaves were held in bondage in counties located in either the Tennessee River Valley or the Black Belt region. Slavery, however, existed in every county.

SOURCE: The Encyclopedia of Alabama

HERE: Should you be in NYC And want to learn more about Seneca Village. 

Nov 29, 2019

Automotive Layoffs

      The BBC reports Mercedes is cutting jobs worldwide, which could include the plant in Vance Alabama. The report also says the manufacturer will cut it's management workforce by 10%.

Nov 28, 2019

Moon + 2

Taken in South Montgomery County tonight---the Moon, Venus (closest to the moon) and Jupiter the smaller bright dot to the right.


A member of my adopted family traveling from California showed up in Montgomery  for Thanksgiving with a basket of persimmon, which I knew of, but not much more. (I thought it was a tomato!)

I've since learned quite a bit. HERE'S one page by a growers group. Thanks Sis!

Thanksgiving Day Portrait

     Michelle Obama has released a family portrait for Thanksgiving. The message?
         “From our family to yours, #HappyThanksgiving!”


 It reminded me of the billboard with a photo of George Bush "with the caption "Miss me yet?". It was put up by a group of Minnesota businessmen in 2010.